iPhone's OS X Less than 500MB, Flash vs Hard Drive

Discussion in 'MacRumors.com News Discussion' started by MacRumors, Jan 14, 2007.

  1. macrumors bot


    Apr 12, 2001

    Macworld.co.uk provides some quotes from Greg Joswiak, Apple's vice president of worldwide iPod marketing.

    Joswiak provides some additional details about the version of OS X that runs on the Apple iPhone. He confirms that the operating system sits in the flash memory of the iPhone and takes up "considerably less" than half a gigabyte of storage.

    OS updates will be provided regularly, much like iPod updates are provided.

    Meanwhile, Joswiak also states that Flash memory was chosen for the iPhone over a hard drive due to the advantages of size and durability.

    In another report Joswiak reports that Apple will be providing accessory makers more details about designing for the iPhone later this month:

    "We will be giving our developers technical information by the end of next month that will outline those extra requirements. We’ll work with our developers to make sure that the products are properly shielded."

    He also confirms that the only other applications to be expected for the iPhone will be coming from Apple for the time being. Macworld.co.uk speculates that the next iWork update may integrate with the iPhone. Indeed, the buzz on the Macworld floor indicates that many believe that the iWork and iLife updates have been delayed due to tight integration with Leopard. iPhone integration could also certainly be possible, but no concrete evidence yet to support this.
  2. Retired


    May 16, 2006
    The thing I want to know: Will there be a hard drive based iPod, like the iPhone without the phone bit...
  3. macrumors 6502a


    Jan 26, 2004
    Northern Hemisphere (Norway)
    That's what I want to know as well. :)
  4. macrumors 6502a

    Nov 10, 2006
    They must have left quite a bit out... the System folder on my iMac is nearly 2GB, the Library folder is another 600MB.
  5. macrumors regular

    Jul 2, 2003
    Yeah, now I'm starting to wonder what is taking up so much data in my System folder :)! Are the GUI elements on my Mac taking up that much?

    Then again, they could probably get rid of a bunch of things that aren't necessary on the iPhone, like printer drivers, unused frameworks, and on the Darwin layer: All the command utilities that aren't used at user level anyway.
  6. macrumors 65816


    Sep 8, 2005
    London , UK
    Would be nice for some tight integration with iWork and iLife.

    I wonder what bits of OS X have been left out
  7. macrumors 6502

    Jun 25, 2006
    The iPhone is an incredible product but I have a hard time plunking down $600 for just 8GB worth of storage. That gets me about 3 full length movies and 100 songs. Until the storage is upped to at least 16GB Flash or 30GB HDD I think I'm going to hold out.
  8. macrumors 603


    Jul 26, 2004
    Montreal, QC
    I'm still not convinced that the iPhone is running anything but an OS X lookalike. I doubt it's so much a question of what's left out as what's included. And when you start to build up what you need rather than strip down what you don't, I have no trouble believing they could get it down to well under 500 MB.
  9. macrumors 68040


    Mar 29, 2004
    Manchester, UK
    16GB and 8GB versions on launch?

    Also, cue torrent of iphone haters complaining too hard about how they're not gonna buy one and that Apple has another cube on it's hands :D
  10. macrumors 6502a

    Oct 30, 2004
    I'm getting a bit worried about Leopard. The features we saw at WWDC were pretty minor, only time machine and spaces could you say were 'real new features'.

    Considering Vista is launched this month you'd have thought Apple would be showing the world just how cool Leopard is going to be. But they just aren't.
  11. macrumors member

    Aug 8, 2003
    We've now had several Apple execs, including Jobs himself state that the iPhone is running OS X. So why do you keep on doubting it is anything but a highly optimized version of OS X? Just because we've gotten used to software bloat?

    Here's an anecdote from Andy Hertzfeld about the power of optimization:

    http://folklore.org/StoryView.py?pr...e Design&sortOrder=Sort by Date&detail=medium

    Andy was one of the original Mac programmers and while the story is from a while back, the point remains valid. A talented programmer can take a program and with genius and creativity, significantly reduce the size of the program. In the story above, Andy took the original Puzzle desk accessory that was 6 KB in size and managed, in just a few hours of weekend work, reduce it to just 600 bytes.

    Of course, he used assembly language to reduce the program to just 10% of its original size, but without resorting to assembly language, I would say it would be fairly easy for programmers to reduce the size of something by 2-4 times, especially if they leave unneeded libraries out.

    Less than 500 MB for OS X is totally believable, especially since Apple tends to have more than its fair share of genius-level software engineers.
  12. macrumors 65816


    Jan 5, 2005
    What does this actually mean? That you can't run anything that runs on a Mini on the phone? That it is a purpose built device that only does exactly what you see?

    Actually it is not a lookalike. It doesn't look anything like OS X. Since nobody here actually knows anything about the iPhone, I am willing to accept that it is a stripped down version of OS X.

    And since none of us actually knows anything about the phone it might be more useful, and entertaining, to start making a list of things in the full version of the OS that the iPhone doesn't need.

    1. The whole printing subsystem including drivers.
    2. The Windowing system.
    3. Drag and Drop.
    4. A large part of the code that handles networking.

    Feel free to continue...
  13. macrumors 6502a


    Mar 3, 2004
    Just wait. It's obvious that Apple wanted to show off what they believe, if not all users of this forum(!), is a fantastic new device. I think that it is, and will get one the moment it is released here in the UK.

    Jeez, because they devoted most of the keynote to the iPhone, you all think that OSX etc. is on the back burner?

    Oh ye of little faith, as they say!

    Steve threw away a mention of new stuff re Macs at the start, and I see no real reason to doubt that that will happen in due course. There will be plenty of new announcements soon, and if you think that Apple are putting OSX on hold, then you are simply mistaken.

    If you don't like that, then go and get Vista, and a Blackberry, and I'm sure you will be happy.
  14. macrumors 68040


    Mar 29, 2004
    Manchester, UK
    They don't need to. The world's media is on Apple anyway. No hype needed.
  15. Guest

    Dec 30, 2002
    Exactly. I want a widescreen/touchscreem iPod with WiFi and web browsing, just replace the phone and SMS parts with iChat, and I would definitly buy one, but as a phone, I just don't see myself buying one.
  16. macrumors newbie

    Nov 9, 2006
    Why Worry?

    I think that is the very reason they are not showing the world how cool Leopard is gonna be. They gave us a little taste at WWDC, barely enough to wet the appetite. Rushing Leopard out, just to compete with Vista is stupid...its a Microsoft move. It is just like Apple bringing nothing out, as far as a new iPod to compete with Zune.

    Why bother?

    People are getting wise now to Microsoft. They are seeing that the "innovative new features" that are being generated out of Redmond, are nothing more than rip-offs of others.

    What is innovative about the Zune?
    Or Vista?

    Is there one concept or idea in either product that is new, different or added to the world of technology...that was not lifted from another company?

    Here is why Apple doesn't need to rush their products out.

    Microsoft is just now catching up to the iPod and Mac OS X. The problem is, Apple has been deep, already, in developing their next wave. The iPhone is definitely a foreshadowing of things to come for iPod. I think you could easily bet on the fact we will see a full on touch screen, widescreen iPod video this year. And Leopard has yet to show its spots. I do think there is much happening with Leopard they are not telling any of us about. Even developers.

    Companies like Microsoft have left them no choice.

    I think their statement at the beginning of this year was a bold statement and a real call that they are planning some sweeping things...iPhone was just the beginning.
  17. macrumors newbie

    Mar 10, 2004
    OS X - What's in a name?

    Although not common in the desktop market, there are many areas where OSes (embedded, real-time, etc.) carry on the same name but are quite different under the hood.

    In 1980, the company I work for introduced an operating system called OS-9 for the Motoroal 6809. Written in 8/16-bit assembly, the kernel was a few K, if that. In 1983, the operating system was ported/rewritten for 68000 assembly. Much like native PPC Mac apps, and native Intel Mac apps, there was zero compatiblity between 6809 and 68000 architectures, but portable source code (BASIC, C, etc.) could be directly recompiled with few, if any, changes. Both versions, compatible only at the high-level language source level, were known as "OS-9." Today's 68000-based kernel is about 28K, and other variations (ported in C to newer 32 and 64 bit processors) are many times larger.

    So, all "OS X" means is an API and feature set. You can drop features and have "OS X Lite" or whatever (which is undoubtedly what this is) and you can leave out 90% of the high end features and the core is still "OS X."

    This is very common in all non-PC/Mac operating system markets (you know, the place where the majority of OSes are used in all those billions of cell phones, traffic light controllers, and french fry cooking robots).

    (Hmmm, I guess it's alot like Linux. You can't buy a $99 router that runs Linux and expect to have it running OpenOffice; the heart may be Linux, but without all the support components for a "full" Linux, it won't do much.)
  18. macrumors 6502

    Sep 4, 2001
    West Sussex, UK
    From this job advert I think its highly likely that it runs OS X. Why else would they be looking for "MacOS X / IOKit driver development experience" and "Mach IPC and/or Mach Server design experience" for an iPhone wireless engineer.
  19. macrumors 6502a

    Oct 30, 2004
    Perhaps that's why they choose to showcase the iPhone instead of Leopard. Knowing that it would create more medie attention
  20. macrumors G3


    Aug 6, 2006
    its always not smart to totally take business company's PR statements literally.

    Optimization can be done, but how much optimization you can do without loosing functionality, its all balance.

    Actually I do agree a 500 MB system can do alot of things, (remember Win98? it only took 200MB), but it will not be as flexible as Mac OSX.

    I guess the problem is ppl expecting the iPhone OS to do as much as MacOSX (or at least 70% of what Mac OSX can do), which is quite unreasonable, but again, apple created this expectation by using the name of "OSX", who to blame? if finally buyer find this to be disappointing and iPhone fail in market because of this, its only Jobs' PR campaign's fault.
  21. macrumors 6502a


    Jul 4, 2006
    So any mac can run mac OS(X) where X is the name of a huge cat :D

    Attached Files:

  22. macrumors 604


    May 28, 2005
    Forget Windows 98, Windows 95 was around 1/4 the size of 98, and look at everything it could do! Heck, Windows XP can be reduced to 500mb's if you remove all the extra drivers and unnecessary bloat, and if you had access to the source code you could probably chop that number in 1/2 again if you removed parts you don't need that are computer-only... so yeah, 500mb's for OS X is pleanty.
  23. macrumors G5


    Nov 25, 2005
    Just as an example: Take the file system. MacOS X supports HFS+, HFS, FAT32, Unix file systems, user-loadable file systems. Network file systems. Disk images. Multiple harddisks. Multiple volumes on one harddisk. Raid. Harddisks that can be ejected, that are connected through Firewire or USB. Harddisks of arbitrary size. CDs, DVDs, recordable CDs and DVDs in a dozen formats. Powerdown, Powerup. Sleepmode. Writeable CDs and DVDs. And so on, and so on, and so on.

    On the iPhone, you have exactly one harddisk. Exactly one file system. Exactly one hardware interface. It is always there, not removable. So here is what you do as a programmer: You make a list of all features that you might want - like HFS, HFS+, Unix file system, multiple file systems, more than one harddisk, and so on and so on. Then for every bit of code, you decide which feature or combination of features require that bit of code, and mark it. Then you build an OS supporting exactly what you want and nothing else, and tons of code drop out. Easy to get rid lots of code that way.

    Also, the ARM processor is famous for having very compact code, and there is an even more compact variant (THUMB) which will save even more.
  24. macrumors regular

    Oct 11, 2006
    Couldn't agree more with your comments. I'll be getting an iPhone when they're out in the UK too (praying that they are not exclusive to '3'!!), and I can't wait to see Leopard arrive, which it will, in due course.

    I can't believe that so many Mac devotees on this forum seem to be shunning Apple on this one... :rolleyes:

    I'm sorry, but if Apple only released the products / software that the 'hardcore' Mac fans wanted, then they simply wouldn't be able to attract NEW customers / switchers to Macs, and then they wouldn't be able to keep innovating as they are.

    I can understand the frustration, really - especially over some of the iPhone features, and the price tag - but seriously, the 'teaser' on their website before MacWorld was not just about the iPhone... there is SO much more to come from Apple this year... :)
  25. macrumors G4

    Jul 17, 2002
    5. Classic
    6. Chess
    7. iLife
    8. Support for all but one language
    9. BSD subsystem
    10. Office 2004 trial


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